Date: Fri, 22 May 1998 07:07:45 -0400
From: Fred Shapiro
Subject: Re: Rock 'n' Roll

The question of the earliest citation for _rock and roll_ in its musical
noun usage (as opposed to earlier uses as a sex-related verb phrase) may
be of interest. The OED has a 25 Dec. 1954 citation from _Billboard_,
contributed to them by me, as its first use. I have subsequently found a
slightly earlier occurrence, however:

1954 _Billboard_ 4 Dec. 22 [Alan] Freed is now calling his program the
"Rock and Roll Show."

Freed is often said to have begun using _rock and roll_ in 1951, but I
have been unable to find any usages in print. Listings of radio shows in
Cleveland newspapers from the early 1950s do not use the words in
referring to his show.

Fred R. Shapiro Coeditor (with Jane Garry)
Associate Librarian for Public Services TRIAL AND ERROR: AN OXFORD
and Lecturer in Legal Research ANTHOLOGY OF LEGAL STORIES
Yale Law School Oxford University Press, 1998
e-mail: fred.shapiro[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] ISBN 0-19-509547-2